Guardian Children’s Books’ eco-themed week

Guardian Children’s Books will be focusing on climate change issues this week. The aim is to celebrate “the positive power of stories, whether dystopian YA fiction, picture books, poetry or classic reads, to bring home what we risk losing – and what we can do about it”. It will also be International Earth Day on Wednesday 22 April.

Highlights include an interview with Helen Skelton who will be discussing her new book set in the Amazon, a gallery of Debi Gliori’s sketches for her eco-picture book The Trouble with Dragons, and an enchanted forest castle drawing lesson from Secret Garden illustrator Johanna Basford.

Last year, the Guardian Children’s site held a First World War week.

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Murakami in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list

Haruki Murakami, author of Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, has been named in TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list.

Yoko Ono expressed her delight on discovering TIME’s selection in her piece for the magazine in which she says: “He deserves the honour. He is a writer of great imagination and human sympathy, one who has enthralled millions of readers by building fictional worlds that are uniquely his.”

Murakami’s work has been translated into more than 50 languages, and his most recent novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage sold one million copies in its first week of publication in Japan. He has won many awards including the Franz Kafka Prize and the Jerusalem Prize.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Half of a Yellow Sun, and Malala Yousafzai, winner of the Specsavers Non-fiction Book of the Year award, also feature on TIME’s list.

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Alex T. Smith reveals 101 Dalmatians cover

101 DalmatiansIllustrator Alex T. Smith has revealed his front cover for Dodie Smith’s The Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Smith thanked his fans for their positive reaction to the news with the tweet: “WOW! Hugely touched by all your kind tweets about my #101Dalmatians cover reveal!”

Smith was shortlisted for The Best Emerging Illustrator award by the Book Trust in 2008. His book Claude in the City was selected for the Richard and Judy Children’s Book Club 2011, and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book prize 2012.

The Hundred and One Dalmatians hardback edition will be released in September, and will be priced at £10.99.

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Laline Paull on Baileys Women’s Prize shortlist

Laline Paull’s The Bees, an unusual story about a humble sanitation worker bee disturbing the natural hierarchy of her colony, features on the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist.

Judge Cathy Newman called The Bees “a brilliantly inventive debut novel” with “the allegorical power of Animal Farm, and the humanity of Tarka the Otter. I found it a joy to read.”

The other works shortlisted are Rachel Cusk’s Outline, Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests, Kamila Shamsie’s A God in Every Stone, Ali Smith’s How to be Both, and Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread.

The winner will be announced on 3 June, and will receive a £30,000 cheque as well as a limited edition bronze figurine created by the artist Grizel Niven.

Previous winners include Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, and A.M. Homes for May We Be Forgiven.

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Chris Riddell creates Shaun in the City sculpture

Chris Riddell illustrator of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Enid Blyton’s Famous Five: Five Go Off in a Caravan has created a bright yellow and blue Shaun the Sheep sculpture for the Shaun in the City project.

Artists and celebrities including author/illustrator of The Queen’s Hat Steve Antony, and Simons’ Cat creator Simon Tofield have decorated 120 giant Shaun the Sheep sculptures. The first flock of 50 sculptures have been scattered around London today, and a further 70 sheep will be dotted around Bristol from 6 July. These woolly creatures will then be auctioned on 8 October to raise money for Wallace & Gromit’s Children’s Charity and The Grand Appeal. The former helps children’s hospitals and hospices in the UK, and the latter funds medical equipment and facilities for Bristol’s Children’s Hospital.

Other book-related sculptures include Mr Men and Little Miss’ Mr. Shaun, Paddington Shaun, and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo Shaun.

Antony said: “I am so thrilled to be part of this absolutely amazing project”.

The team behind Shaun in the City also created the Gromit Unleashed project which raised over £2.3 million for Bristol Children’s Hospital.

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Pay for coffee with a poem

To mark World Poetry Day tomorrow, more than 1,100 cafes, bars, restaurants and hotel bars in 23 countries including the UK will be asking customers to pay for their steaming cups of coffee with pieces of poetry.

Julius Meinl, a coffee-roasting company, who has organized the promotion, says, “Let’s show the world feelings are more valuable than money”, and “We believe that poetry can make a better world”.

To find out participating locations, head to Julius Meinl’s Facebook event page.

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John Boyne’s 5th children’s novel to be published in September

Boy2-150x229John Boyne the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas will be releasing his fifth novel for young readers, The Boy at the Top of the Mountain, on 24 September.

The story follows orphan Pierrot’s transition from Paris to a new life in Hitler’s wealthy household at the top of the German mountains.

Boyne’s other stories for younger readers are Stay Where You Are Then Leave, The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket, and Noah Barleywater Runs Away. These gripping tales feature a shell-shocked father, a gravity-defying boy, and a magical toyshop.

Boyne will also be publishing his first collection of short stories, Beneath the Earth, in August, and is currently serving as the jury chair for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, Canada’s premier literary award.

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